The Dutch cabinet has approved a partial ban on wearing the niqab or burqa, which will now be outlawed in schools, hospitals and on public transport, but not on the streets.
The ban only applies “in specific situations where it is essential for people to be seen” or for security reasons, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
“Face-covering clothing will in future not be accepted in education and healthcare institutions, government buildings and on public transport,” the government said in a statement.
The government said it had “tried to find a balance between people’s freedom to wear the clothes they want and the importance of mutual and recognisable communication”.
A previous bill banning the burqa even on the street and dating from Mr Rutte’s last government will be withdrawn.
It’s thought that between 100 and 500 women in the Netherlands wear the burqa and those who flout the ban can be fined up to 405 euros.
Islamophobia and racism have been on the rise in The Netherlands for many years despite the fact that Muslims make up only 5% of the population.